Emotional, airy star-influenced epic sounds are the order of the day for M83, the French duo of Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau (for the more recent, Before The Dawn Heals Us, Fromageau is gone, leaving Gonzalez as the sole helmsman for M83). Using a fairly basic template of melody and song structure, interweaving complex choral arrangements, often murmuring and incomprehensable and underlying the entire thing with high-mixed pipe-organs seems to be the template they use to create their sound.
While the whole scheme comes across as not terribly ground-breaking or even original-sounding, it's often very enjoyable and presents a few very bright spots in an album that would otherwise just be background noise and filler. Particularly, gems like "Run Into Flowers," "On a White Lake, Near a Green Mountain," "Cyborg" and the aptly named "Birds" do exactly what they are supposed to do by invoking the images presented in the titles through sonic visualization. The best of the collection resides on the second disc, with the vivid and fast-paced title track and "In Church (Cyann & Ben Version)," an acoustic guitar and piano number.
Alternatingly brilliant and boring, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts proves M83 to be very good at sculpting soundscapes through electronica without delving into new territory or exploring new sounds. The intention was to sculpt airy, epic spacy music to paint a visual, which is well accomplished at times and falls far short at others.
Rating: 6 of 10